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Testing political economy’s ‘as if’ proposition: is the median income voter really decisive?

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  • Robert Inman
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    Abstract

    Recent empirical and normative analysis of local government fiscal performance has made good use of the Downsian median voter model as a behavioral specification for how local fiscal allocations are decided. The central assumption behind all these studies is that the median voter is the family with the median income. This paper statistically tests the validity of this assumption for a sample of 58 Long Island school districts. For at most 1/4 of the districts can we reject the assumption, and even for these districts, the predictive bias of the median-income-voter-as-decisive assumption never exceeds 20%. Copyright Springer 1978

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 33 (1978)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 45-65

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:33:y:1978:i:4:p:45-65

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    1. Sato, Kazuo, 1972. "Additive Utility Functions with Double-Log Consumer Demand Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(1), pages 102-24, Jan.-Feb..
    2. repec:fth:prinin:91a is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
    4. Lovell, Michael C, 1978. "Spending for Education: The Exercise of Public Choice," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(4), pages 487-95, November.
    5. Michael Lovell, 1975. "The collective allocation of commodities in a democratic society," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 71-92, December.
    6. Byron Brown & Daniel Saks, 1977. "Income Distribution and the Aggregation of Private Demands for Local Public Education," Working Papers 471, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    7. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1977. "The Demand for Housing: A Study in Specification and Grouping," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(2), pages 447-61, March.
    8. Barlow, Robin, 1970. "Efficiency Aspects of Local School Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(5), pages 1028-40, Sept.-Oct.
    9. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-96, June.
    10. Brian J. L. Berry & Robert S. Bednarz, 1975. "A Hedonic Model of Prices and Assessments for Single-Family Homes: Does the Assessor Follow the Market or the Market Follow the Assessor?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(1), pages 21-40.
    11. Stiglitz, J. E., 1974. "The demand for education in public and private school systems," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 349-385, November.
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    Cited by:
    1. George Boyne, 1987. "Median voters, political systems and public policies: An empirical test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 201-219, January.
    2. Tim Krieger & Jens Ruhose, 2013. "Honey, I shrunk the kids’ benefits—revisiting intergenerational conflict in OECD countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 115-143, October.
    3. Bischoff, Ivo, 2003. "Party competition in a heterogeneous electorate – the role of dominant-issue-voters," Finanzwissenschaftliche Arbeitspapiere 68, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften.
    4. Balsdon, Ed & Brunner, Eric J. & Rueben, Kim, 2003. "Private demands for public capital: evidence from school bond referenda," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 610-638, November.
    5. Iregui, Ana Maria, 2005. "Decentralised provision of quasi-private goods: The case of Colombia," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 683-706, July.
    6. Robert Inman, 1981. "On setting the agenda for Pennsylvania school finance reform: An exercise in giving policy advice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 449-474, January.
    7. Dahlberg, M. & Jacob, J., 2000. "Sluggishness, Endogeneity and the Demand for Local Public Services," Papers 2000-17, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    8. Silva, Fabio & Sonstelie, Jon, 1995. "Did Serrano Cause a Decline in School Spending," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(2), pages 199-215, June.
    9. Cyriaque Moreau & Matthieu Leprince & Marc Baudry, 2002. "Préférences révélées, bien public local et électeur médian : tests sur données françaises," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 156(5), pages 125-146.
    10. Brunner, Eric J. & Ross, Stephen L., 2010. "Is the median voter decisive? Evidence from referenda voting patterns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 898-910, December.
    11. Jason L. Saving, 1997. ""Tough Love": implications for redistributive policy," Economic and Financial Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Q III, pages 25-29.
    12. David Brasington & Don Haurin, . "The Demand for Educational Quality: Comparing Estimates from a Median Voter Model with those from an Almost Ideal Demand System," Departmental Working Papers 2005-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    13. Rodolfo Gonzalez & Stephen Mehay, 1985. "Bureaucracy and the divisibility of local public output," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 89-101, January.

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